Archive for the 'Single parents' Category

Single Parent Adoption

Even in 2011, when single parenting is quite common and single celebrities seem to be adopting left and right, adopting as a single parent poses special challenges. However, single people do adopt successfully! Read these tips to increase your chances of being one of them.

  • Surround yourself with the right professionals. Unfortunately, there are still adoption agencies that will not consider single-parent applicants. More insidiously, some will gladly take your money but won’t tell you that being single puts you on the bottom of their waiting list, making you unlikely to be matched with a child. Be sure to ask questions about the agency’s policy toward single parents, including whether the average wait time is longer than it is for couples. Many single adoptive parents find it easier to do a private (non-agency) adoption using an attorney. Whichever route you choose, make sure you use professionals who support your adoption and with whom you feel comfortable.

  • Do your homework. Twice. When approaching an agency or attorney and when preparing for your home study, it helps if you have an answer to every question they might toss your way. Write out a financial plan showing how you will support the child. Do research into child care options in your area. Join an adoptive parent support group, and have a list of family and friends in mind who will support your parenting. Not only will this show that you have thought your decision through, it has the added benefit of helping you be more prepared to adopt. It may also help you enlist the support of friends and relatives who are skeptical about your choice to parent alone.

  • Don’t rule out international. Many people have the mistaken impression that single parents cannot adopt internationally. While some countries do not accept single applicants for adoption, there are several that do. Consult your adoption agency or attorney for an up-to-date list.

  • Be open-minded…to a point. Many articles and websites stress that single adoptive parents must be open to adopting any child, including older children and those with special needs. While it is true that statistically you are more likely to be matched with a child if you are open to any child, I am uncomfortable with this advice. It is especially important for single parents to realistically assess their own wishes and capabilities. Adopting a child with special needs takes a tremendous amount of energy, patience, and support, and not every single parent is able to provide that (frankly, not every married parent is able to provide it, either!). I was appalled to see one website recommend that single parents adopt an older child because it is easier for professionals with busy schedules! This is simply not true, and older children have special needs that not every single parent is prepared to meet (see my review of author’s Toddler Adoption here). While it’s wonderful to be open minded, it is crucial to be honest with yourself about what is best for you and, more importantly, for the child. During your decision-making process, I highly recommend the book Adopting on Your Own by Lee Veron, which has numerous exercises to help you decide what type of adoption is right for you.

  • Persistence pays. There’s no doubt about it: Adopting as a single parent is more challenging than adopting as part of a couple. Persistence is the characteristic that sets single adoptive parents apart. In particular, don’t be discouraged by those who say that an expectant mother will never choose a single person to parent her baby. Every mother making an adoption plan is different, and there are those who prefer single parents, perhaps because the mother was raised by a single parent herself, or simply because she feels a rapport with you. Rather than trying to guess what expectant mothers want, focus on what you want for your family, and be persistent.

    Are you a single adoptive parent? Do you have tips or stories to share? Post them in the comments or email me at evaughan (at) vaughanfirm (dot) com.

    Do you have more questions about adoption? Contact The Vaughan Firm to speak with an adoption attorney.

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